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Mar 30, 2009

Tempe: A great start for the '09 season

Check out Jimmy's pics here and here! Loads of great shots, including some frame-by-frame racing. Thanks, Jimmy!

Best cheering section around ... thanks, girls!

2009 Tempe Space Dragons bring home a lil' hardware:
500m Mixed Div A 3rd place, 2nd place Masters, 2nd place Open, & 2nd place 1000m Mixed

Our 4th straight Tempe tournament was our most rewarding yet - a testament to our continual growth & maturation as a team & validation for our hard work thus far.

Coach CZ strikes a pose - Photo via

The race organizers did a wonderful job keeping the weekend packed w/racing action, and we took full advantage by participating in more races (18!) than anyone else in attendance, w/ 2 mixed boats for the 500m, 250m, & 1000m races + a Men's Boat + a Women's boat + a Master's boat. All of you did an outstanding job staying strong throughout the hot & dry weekend, which speaks to your fitness, endurance, & focus to see the weekend all the way through. A victory in itself. Great job!

Prepping the always important Team Mascot between races

Some competition highlights (fuel & motivation for the challenging season ahead!):
  • Both RED (#6 seed) & BLUE (#10 seed) qualified for the top Mixed Division A (reserved for the top 12 of 32). Truly awesome as it reflects depth & growth - and loads of potential. Blue, your performances put you up against some big boys on Sunday, and this is what we want - opportunities to race against the best. Great job, everyone!

    Blue takes 1st in their tough first heat (view in HQ!)

  • RED finishes 3rd place overall (behind mighty San Diego & blazing UCLA) in the 500m mixed division after fighting through the elimination round & edging out the head-turning Manitoba High School (Canada) in the finals

RED crashes the party by finishing strong & winning it's semifinal elimination round against tough competition

Mixed Div A Finals - RED battles tooth and nail against San Diego, UCLA, & Manitoba High School to finish 3rd place overall
  • After two straight 1st place finishes on Sat, our MEN finish 2nd place overall in the Open Division behind mighty San Diego. Men leave Tempe w/ our redemption - and the 2nd fastest 500m time of the weekend
In the 2nd OPEN heat, our men edge-out San Diego to record Sat's fastest time (~2:05)

Open Finals - MEN fly to a 2nd place finish against top-flight competitors San Diego & LARD

  • Our Geri-crew MASTERS finish just a few grey hairs (.4 seconds) behind great competitors DragonMax (North Cali) in the Master's Final for the 2nd place overall finish. Click here for DragonMax's footage!

  • With a very close 4th place seeding after Sat, our LADIES were just edged out from participating in the Women's Final (reserved for the top 3 of 9) & guaranteed hardware. Plenty of motivation for many upcoming Women's races (Alcan, Long Beach, SF). Train hard, ladies!
Despite two great qualifying heats (1st & 2nd place finishes), Women finish 4th time-wise and just out of the Women's final

  • After a 4th place finish in the 250m sprints, RED closed out the weekend right w/ a thrillingly close 2nd place overall finish behind mighty San Diego in the Guts & Glory 1000m race

Sammi demonstrating the benefit of practicing eyes-closed.

No doubt, bringing home hardware for RED (500m +1000m), our MEN, & our Masters was rewarding. BUT, thanks to all of your efforts - the bigger benefit of the weekend is that we kicked-off the season the right way (and of course had a blast doing it!).

It's a long season ahead of us - the competition is guaranteed to get tougher. We face the challenge of continually improving & being the absolute best we can be each opportunity we get ... we have obvious areas for improvement - & that's a very good thing.

So - GREAT JOB, EVERYONE - this is just the beginning of 2009 - IF we stay together & continue to train hard ... this has the makings of a potential best-ever type season!

Big thank you's to:
  • The AZDBA & all the volunteers for a fun, efficient, race-filled weekend!
  • TINA for an AWESOME job as our tourney manager! Too many things to list in detail.
  • JIMMY for supporting Tina, & making sure we were fed & hydrated throughout
  • BEST DEAL INSURANCE AGENCY for the wonderful gifts, snacks, & support!
  • CEEZ for awesome equipment management + helping w/ lunch
  • All who helped contribute & transport EZ-ups, coolers, water, snacks, etc!
  • TOM, PHIL, JIMMY, KEVIN, ALL for serving as paparazzi!
  • EVERYONE for doing all the big & little things to serve our collective group & for simply taking care of one another - that's what makes this team a family!
  • KURT from Ripple for blessing us with your participation for the 2nd straight year!
  • BILL, JESSE, and DAN from our friends at LARD for joining us on our Masters Crew!
  • Steers AJ, JOHN, PEARL, BRIAN, JOE, SAMMI, & yes, EMILY! Great job keeping us safe & straight!
  • Callers TRAN, DEVANT, EM, SAMMI, DENISE, TINA, WADE! Great work in the best seat of the house!
  • And last but not least, GREAT JOB to all of our first-time competitors (13!): Kat, Zoe, Blanca, Diane, Jen T, Jen Z, Edie, Phil, Kenny, Tom, Turtle, Chen, & Rip. It's only going to get better!

And to add to our ever-growing collection of memorable & inappropriate quotations ...
"If it's a dry start, it better be a quickie!" - Mayana

Can you spot Hafer? (look for the trademark shorts/legs)
Photo via